5 ways he deconstructed the superhero genre (& 5 ways he saved it)

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When it debuted in 2004, Disney and Pixar The Incredibles was both a nostalgic superhero film and a radical reinvention of the superhero film genre. The film uses a humorous yet thoughtful approach to its story to examine and comment on the conventions and tropes of the superhero genre.

RELATED: 10 Things You Never Knew About Pixar’s Incredibles

However, the film wasn’t just a meta-commentary on the superhero genre, as it was also a fresh and original entry into the genre that appealed to the whole family. As such, The Incredibles is both a reflection on the history of the superhero genre and the model for what it would become in the years that followed.


ten Deconstructed: great costumes

Arguably Pixar’s best supporting character, Edna Mode has a simple rule of thumb for her superhero costume designs, “no capes.” She’s seen far too many heroes die because of impractical costume choices.

While superheroes are frequently associated with capes, they have no practical or functional purpose in most cases. As cool as Superman or Thor may look with their cape fluttering in the wind, the cape is of no use whatsoever. The Incredibles have denounced the superhero costume trend that values ​​aesthetics over functionality.

9 I saved him: sympathetic villain

While there have been some big, sympathetic villains in the MCU, the concept of a sympathetic villain was much less common when The Incredibles has been freed. Syndrome is one of the first major supervillains who wanted to be a hero but ended up being a villain.

Story convention has become the norm, with audiences expecting villains to have sympathetic origins rather than simply being cartoonish embodiments of evil. Characters like Thanos, Killmonger, and Two-Face start out with lofty intentions but fall into villainy along the way, much like Buddy started out wanting to be a hero but went on to become Syndrome.

8 Deconstructed: the nature of powers

Laughter Syndrome in Pixar's Incredibles

Because the villainous Syndrome has lived his whole life wishing to be special like Mr. Incredible, his plan is to give everyone superpowers because “if everyone is special, nobody is.” The Incredibles ultimately refute this concept because their virtue and selflessness are juxtaposed with Syndrome’s arrogance and selfishness.

RELATED: The 10 Best Incredibles Costumes

This aspect of the film gets audiences to reflect on what makes a superhero a superhero. The viewer must wonder if The Incredibles are special because of their abilities or strength of character. While both have abilities, it’s how the Incredibles use their powers to help others that makes them different.

7 I saved it: mixed genres

Helen yells at Dash in The Incredibles

For many years, superhero movies have existed firmly in their own genre. Recently, due to the abundance of superhero movies, superhero movies have started to branch out into other genres, mixing elements of spy thrillers, heist movies, westerns and movies. ‘other genres.

In some ways, The Incredibles helped introduce this trend by taking a traditional superhero story and mixing it with family drama. The movie proved that superhero movies don’t have to be just superhero movies, but these characters can be used to tell all kinds of stories.

6 Deconstructed: the dynamics of super teams

Brad Bird gives the Incredibles 2 update

The Incredibles are clearly inspired by Marvel’s Fantastic Four. While many superhero teams such as the X-Men or the Avengers often become like family, bringing together loners who never fit in and providing them with a home, The Incredibles are, in fact, family.

It’s a nifty way to give the super team an original twist while deconstructing and examining the dynamics of a team. When they fight, put on makeup, fail, or succeed, it just means more to each of them as they are bonded as a family.

5 I saved it: gave the Disney experience

Until the exit of The Incredibles, Disney had very limited experience in the superhero genre. Their closest big-budget attempts have probably been The Rocket and Inspector Gadget, none of which was a big box office success. However, the success of The Incredibles has proven that Disney is capable of producing a family-driven, character-driven superhero movie.

RELATED: 5 Ways The Incredibles Are Better Than Ratatouille (& 5 Why Ratatouille Is Better)

Several years later, Disney made the historic decision to buy Marvel Entertainment and take control of the MCU. In many ways, the MCU has shaped modern cinema by driving the rise of blockbusters and connected universes. But before buying the MCU and forever changing the genre of superheroes, Disney proved to themselves and the world that they could handle the genre with it. The Incredibles.

4 Deconstructed: Heroes Acting Autonomously

Mr. Incredible

For several decades of superhero movies, the hero was largely undisputed and allowed to be above the law. In some cases, like the Batman movies, the police come to the hero with his problems and trust him to solve them. Corn The Incredibles subverts that expectation in the opening sequence and shows the law trying to take jurisdiction over superheroes, cleverly using Watchmen as inspiration for a children’s film.

Many of the greatest superhero movies since The Incredibles addressed this same concept by asking whether or not superheroes have the right to act autonomously or whether they should be accountable to a governing body. Movies such as The black Knight, Captain America: Civil War, and Batman vs. Superman all grappling with this same subject.

3 I saved it: not related to Marvel or DC

Mr. Incredible and Elastigirl

Because Marvel and DC have dominated the superhero comic book genre for decades, many of the great superhero movies are adaptations of Marvel or DC characters. However, as a great original superhero movie, The Incredibles proved that the superhero genre can thrive beyond Marvel and DC.

While Marvel and DC are still major players, there have been a lot more blockbuster superhero movies and shows that aren’t based on Marvel or DC comics in recent years, such as Invincible, The boys, Kick ass, and the Chronicle. The Incredibles helped show that the general public can accept superhero movies that weren’t based on Marvel or DC properties.

2 Deconstructed: the need to be amazing

Although there have been superhero movies, such as Superman ii and Spider-man 2, which deal with the hero deciding to walk away from being a hero, The Incredibles reinvents this trope by looking at a world where heroes have been stripped of their identities against their will.

Clark Kent must hide his true identity to fit into an office, but Mr. Incredible is forced to accept that his office persona is his only identity. The result is a fascinating and relevant look at people entering their 50s who are forced to redefine themselves and find out who they are apart from the thing that has always been their source of identity.

1 I saved it: introduced the genre to a new generation

In the early 2000s, many of the most successful superhero films, primarily the X Men and Spider Man films, aimed at an older audience. Corn The Incredibles was intended for the whole family, bearing only a PG rating so children of all ages could watch it.

The generation that was children when The Incredibles released in 2004 are now the young adults who continue to make the MCU a success. The Incredibles exposed a whole generation of children to the superhero genre and helped them fall in love with superhero movies, contributing to the long term health of the genre.

NEXT: 5 Reasons The Incredibles Original Movie Is Best (& 5 Reasons The Sequel Is Better)


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